Bow Wow Apologizes For Threatening To ‘Pimp’ First Lady Melania Trump
Bow Wow has nine lives. The rapper, who now goes by his birth name, Shad Moss, played his first sold-out shows long before hitting puberty. In only three decades, he’s cycled through innumerable career phases, from rapping at Snoop Dogg’s side to acting to hosting gigs and reality TV show appearances. Now Moss, a long-time staple of the Atlanta hip hop scene, is looking to honor his adopted hometown on WE’s newest reality offering, Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta. The series’ first season is slated to track Moss’ latest comeback and new music intended to herald his graduation from nostalgia-inducing puppy to top dog. Along the way, there’s sure to be romantic happenings, family drama, and rising tensions with his fellow Atlanta castmates.
Luckily, Moss is already well known for the kind of entertainment value that keeps channel surfers coming back for more. The “Like You” rapper has proven himself adept at combining the explosive elements of social media and minor celebrity to wreak havoc and make headlines. Using Twitter and Instagram, Moss has propelled himself to trending topic twice in the past few months. In March, he had Fox news anchors clutching their pearls after he fired off an incendiary tweet, defending his mentor Snoop Dogg and jokingly threatening to “pimp” the first lady Melania Trump. For his encore performance, he sparked an entire Twitter challenge by appearing to falsely flex on his Instagram. To hear Moss tell it, “It’s all part of the game”: While there are certainly bad tweets, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
We met up with Moss at the NoMad hotel in New York City, right as he and his WE co-stars were about to dig into an appropriately lavish spread of hamburgers and fries. The former child star turned social media savant graciously took half an hour out of his lunch break to tell The Daily Beast about growing up hip hop, his group chat with Snoop Dogg and why he’d like to apologize to Melania Trump.
So you’re starring on this new show, but you’re also an executive producer. What type of reality TV shows are you trying to emulate with this series, and what inspired you to take on such a big role?
I hated reality TV. I’d seen how these networks would put these people in these situations, it seemed like, to make fun of them—it just didn’t seem positive. I stayed away from it because I felt like it wasn’t the time. When I saw T.I. do it, I was like OK, alright, alright. And then I started seeing other guys get into it and it became like the thing. I really wanted to wait until the right opportunity presented itself… So they wrote the first Growing Up Hip Hop, it was a hit, and they came back to me and they said, “Look, we want to do something with you really bad. We’ve already got this project, it’s ready to go, it’s a spinoff, and we just want to bring you along to quarterback and executive produce it.” And I was like, no doubt. If it’s a boss move, then I’m with it. I know that if this becomes a hit, which is what we’re picturing will happen, then this will give me leverage to go back and produce another show that has nothing to do with this, and that’s my goal. My goal is to own a network. I want to sit behind a desk and call shots, I want to watch my investments grow. That’s really where I’m at in this stage in my career.
I definitely feel like with Remy Ma and even Kanye, you have legit rappers getting involved with reality TV shows. There’s a lot of overlap there.
Exactly, exactly. It’s just the thing now. You want to stay relevant and move with the times, and if it’s the right situation, you do it. Like Snoop had a reality show and he’s family. Everybody has dipped and dabbed in it. I hear about [Lil] Wayne getting ready to do one… so it’s just the thing to do. It’s a great platform to promote other things, and create the awareness. Why not be on TV once a week, every week?
So people will presumably be tuning in to Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta because they’re attracted to a certain type of glamorous hip hop lifestyle—
But what do you think viewers are going to see on the show that they weren’t expecting?
The real life s*** that we go through. That’s what they need to see, they need to see that we’re human. With me, of course you see the actor, you see the rapper, you see the star, but at the same time what’s behind the scenes is what makes it interesting. You see me go through things with my daughter’s mom, you see my father come back into my life, and these are things that are all real. It goes back to your first question when you asked me about reality TV. One thing that I hated was that it’s so scripted—this s*** looks horrible! And it’s not the cast’s fault, it’s the producers that come up with these storylines. They put people in these spots and make them act and it’s like, “Yo, they’re not actors.” You know what I mean? They’re not actors, I’m sorry. So then when you watch it, it’s terribly shot, it’s too glossy, it doesn’t look real. So for this, that’s what I studied. I studied the dos and the don’ts of reality TV. Everything that you see is not staged. You can’t script this. It’s hard to keep me in a box, and I feel like that’s what scripted does.
You also speak with your estranged father with the cameras rolling.
That was something that was going down with or without this show. I needed that for my own closure, it just so happened that we were filming. I just brought it to the attention of my colleagues and said, “I’ve been contemplating speaking to my father, might as well do it on the show.” My fans have never seen my father like that. I’ve spoken about him before, they know I don’t really like him like that, but at this point in my life, I was going to have this conversation with him without y’all even being here. So why not get it on film, just film us talking, film the conversation. And it was a real conversation. There wasn’t no “Stop, can you go back and…” Nah! They know that if they do that then I’m going to leave the set. I want it to be accurate and I want it to be authentic.
You were discovered when you were 5. Being a child star in the entertainment industry in general seems tough, but I imagine that being a kid in hip hop is absolutely wild.
It is, it is. You go through a lot of s***. First you hit the “aw he’s so cute” phase. “Aw, they’re growing up now.” Then you hit the “ah, that @#&*!*^%$#@! ugly.” That’s something Snoop always says, he says, “Yo, you got lucky, you made it, cause most of these child stars they be ugly now at this age.” You know what I’m saying? He’s right. But you go through a lot. You gotta be prepared for the ups and the downs, you gotta be prepared for the bull that’s gonna come as you get older, you gotta prepare for the media, how they’re gonna treat you. It’s just about withstanding the time, that’s all you gotta do.
A lot of former child stars say that they grew up too fast. Did you?
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